Son of Former Golf Pro David Feherty Dies from Overdose

Son of Former Golf Pro David Feherty Dies from Overdose

By Paul Gaita 08/04/17

The family hope by sharing the circumstances of his death others will be inspired to seek help for substance dependency.

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 David Feherty

In a heartrending post on his personal Twitter page, former professional golfer and NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst David Feherty revealed that his son, Shey, had died from a drug overdose on July 29, 2017, which would have been his 29th birthday.

An obituary, published on the website for the Dallas, Texas-based Restland Funeral Home, noted that "Shey fought hard to win his battles with drug addiction and mental illness, but in the end the monsters won." Feherty, who struggled with his own substance dependency and depression issues while playing on the PGA and European tours between 1976 and 1997, requested that donations to the Center for Addiction and Recovery Studies, also located in Dallas.

Shey Feherty was the eldest of two biological children by Feherty and his first wife, Caroline DeWitt; he had three step-siblings through his father's marriage to his second wife, Anita.

Through the obituary, his family expressed their wish that Shey's passing could inspire others to seek help for substance dependency or mental health issues. "The worry we felt watching Shey's struggle with his addiction has now been replaced by a feeling of loss so deep, knowing we will never see his smiling face or beautiful eyes again," it read. "But through our heartbreak we share Shey's story in the hope that it will touch another person who may battle with addiction either for themselves or a loved one. Please know there is no shame in asking for help."

The news prompted an outpouring of sympathy from both the professional golf and media communities. Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, and Mike McCarley, president of NBC Sports Group's golf division, which oversee both Feherty's commentator duties and his eponymous interview series on the Golf Chanel, issued a joint statement that read in part, "Family means everything to David, and his Golf Channel, NBC Sports and extended television family send their love and support and this difficult time."

Similar sentiments from pro golfers like Tommy Gainey, Patrick Reed, Paula Creamer and Ken Duke were posted to Feherty's Twitter page, to which he responded on August 1 by writing, "Thank you all so much for your messages. To be surrounded by such love is of great comfort to me at this time."

Feherty has been open about his own lengthy fight against substance dependency and mental illness throughout his life and career. He told Rolling Stone in 2015 that during his career as a golf pro, "a typical day was 30 to 40 Vicodin and two and a half bottles of whiskey… there was cocaine, there was dope. When I think about it now, I'm like, 'Why am I alive?'"

He has credited his second wife, Anita, with providing much of the inspiration for him to get sober. "When I met her, I was penniless, I had lost my damn [playing] privileges in the United States, I was homeless, I had a vehicle that was all I had, because I had been through this horrifying divorce. I was just a penniless, homeless, alcoholic drug addict and she looked at me and said, 'Well I can fix that.'"

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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